Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MARTA OKs fare hike; one-way trips to cost $2.50

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

As expected, MARTA's board today approved a 50-cent increase to the transit agency's fare, bringing the cost of a one-way ticket to $2.50 starting Oct. 2. Ariel Hart offers some details from today's vote:

MARTA passengers packed the board room, begging the board not to take its vote, and condemning it afterward. As the board voted, a few members of the audience blurted out pleas of "No," and then were joined by others in the audience who took up a chant for half a minute.

Terence Courtney, a local advocate for transit passengers, was among them. In comments to the board he noted that MARTA may come back with another increase in a couple of years. "What’s it going to be then?" he asked, apparently referring to the monthly pass. " $100? $200? Why don’t you just make it $500?"

Board members say they are being forced to make up ground. Before 2009 the board went eight years without raising the fare, in spite of inflation.

Yes, it sucks. But considering that the state has long ignored the transit system, it appears MARTA has little choice.

Decatur Metro points us to a recent blog comment by MARTA Chair Jim Durrett, who said the agency, which hopes to receive cash from the one-cent transportation tax voters will decide next year, can't base its day-to-day survival on a future referendum. Or the hopes that state lawmakers will finally realize the role MARTA plays in metro Atlanta's economy and transportation and start investing in the system.

One idea that's been bandied about to help bolster MARTA and bring some order to metro Atlanta's transit situation is the creation of a regional transit agency. What exactly that would look like remains to be seen. We've heard the topic could even come up during the General Assembly's special legislative session in August. We'll see.

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